I'm back participating in the Pet Photographer 52 Week Project. This year we are going to follow through with the lessons in the book, "The Visual Toolbox, 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs" by David Duchemin. It will stretch us as photographers even further. I'm excited.
The first lesson is about Considering Your Vision. We are asked to sit down with our photos, find our favorites. Not what everyone else likes, but OUR favorites. They may not be technically good, but what moves us. What do they have in common? This gives us hints about the way we see the world. We need to recognize our vision of the world, become comfortable with it, own it. Mr Duchemin says "You are obligated to no one but yourself to make the photographs you do, so make them your way. And when you get overwhelmed by all the buttons and dials, and -- God help you -- the voices of other photographers, come back to this as your North Star".
For me, as I went through years of photographs, I found a pattern. Early on, I shot what I loved. As time went on, I started to shoot what others wanted. I have not been happy for the past year or so. I felt the pressure to do what clients "wanted". So and so photographer does this, can you do that for me? I should be saying... if that is what you want, I suggest you contact that photographer. Here is what I do.
What is it I like? Connection, interaction, activity, a story, a mood, a behavior. I'm not happy with just posed. I want to see a dog work, a horse doing it's thing, a person connecting with their pet, an animal expressing. I want to see life, I want to feel the animals state of mind. I want to go back to my sports and photojournalistic roots. I don't mean I won't do portrait sessions, it does mean I'm going to look for play, interaction, connection. The pet with that look the owner always wants to remember. The same for my rescue photography. As I looked at my earlier work, I found more personality in the various animals. The other thing I found, although I have been doing more studio work in the last year and half, my favorites really tended to be from my outside sessions and candids at various events.
Bear with me as I go though the shots! This is my vision, my style, my strength.
Dogs, well, being dogs. This is the most fun for me. I love what dogs do, the fun they have. Some are just pure out takes, but those are ones that I love. You capture the dog in the moment doing what they do!
Dogs and Their People, letting them interact. Getting that connection. Don't pose, run with it. Let them play, have fun, do what they do with their pets. Get those memories. That's what I want.
Portrait, I want expression, a mood, a feeling. This is where I really need to pull from my more natural work. I have some success, but strict portraiture is outside my comfort zone. Technically, I've become much better at portrait lighting, now I need to figure how to take the art form of grabbing a moment, and build it into my form of portraiture, especially in the studio.
I hope you have enjoyed my quest for my vision. I sure have. The next photographer on this quest is Kathie Ono of Ono Pet Photography, Fairhope AL. Please continue through the blog ring, and enjoy the talented pet photographers that make up our group.